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Each year, 14,000 Missourians lose their lives to a disease that is 80 percent preventable. That’s 14,000 mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, neighbors, friends and loved ones whose lives were cut short. Devastatingly, heart disease is the leading cause of death in Missouri and the number one killer worldwide. To put that in perspective, cardiovascular disease claims more lives each year than all forms of cancer — combined.

With modern advancements in diagnosing and treatment, we are seeing increasingly longer life expectancies and reductions in the death rate, but we clearly have a long way to go. As your representative, I have supported numerous efforts and pieces of legislation to provide additional funding for heart disease research, including critical research for congenital heart disease. CHD is the most common birth defect in America and the leading cause of infant mortality. Alongside my congressional colleagues, I also supported legislation to improve the transparency of prescription drug pricing and provide Americans with more options at the pharmacy, making it easier for those with cardiovascular disease to get their medications.

The month of February marks American Heart Month, an opportunity to highlight this largely preventable, yet deadly disease. The American Heart Association provides tips for small changes to make a big difference in your health, which they call “Life’s Simple 7.” These measures include simple lifestyle changes such as staying active and eating healthier to keep your health in your control.

During American Heart Month, I hope you will reach out to those around you and urge them to learn more about heart disease and take preventative measures to stay healthy. Together, we can continue to fight this devastating disease. As your congressman, I will continue supporting heart disease research and funding to ensure Missourians and Americans across the nation can continue to live long, happy and healthy lives.

Please visit the American Heart Association’s website to learn more about the #NoMOHeartDisease initiative and for additional resources.

U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-Mo., shares his perspective each week on national issues, including ones that affect Missouri. He represents the state’s 3rd District, which includes Jefferson City. His local office can be reached at 635-7232.

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